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October 28, 2016
Week five of the CLC focused on the youngest New Yorkers and the early childhood programs that the City has for them including homevisiting, subsidized child care, Head Start and pre-kindergarten. Early childhood education and homevisiting programs have been proven to improve child outcomes.
Homevisting programs, such as Nurse-Family Partnership and Healthy Families New York, improve children’s academic performance, decrease child abuse, neglect, injuries and hospitalizations, and improve parents’ chances of being employed. Similarly, early childhood education programs improve the academic and social development of children, while enabling their parents to participate in the labor market. For children and parents living in poverty, access to high quality early childhood education programs is critical at closing the achievement gap and ensuring young children are prepared for kindergarten.
The city has taken important steps in recent years to increase access to early childhood education. Mayor de Blasio’s Pre-K for All initiative has expanded full day pre-K to over 70,000 four-year olds so that every four-year-old in New York City is able to attend. This is a great step toward ensuring access to high-quality early childhood education programs for all families, but there is much more we must do. Currently, only about 14.4% of income eligible children ages 0 to 3 can be served by the city’s subsidized child care system. And only about 5,000 young children and their parents are able to participate in home visiting programs.
This is why CCC’s advocacy will include urging the expansion of home visiting programs and early childhood education programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Our advocacy efforts will also be aimed at ensuring providers are paid sufficient rates and staff are fairly and adequately compensated.
CLC participants visited several local organizations that care for New York City’s youngest. Public Health Solutions provides Nurse-Family Partnership and Healthy Families home visiting services to families in Queens and Brooklyn. Trained nurses or paraprofessionals make regular home visits to mothers in need of additional support as they parent their young children. East Side House Settlement, Magical Years Early Childhood Center, and Bloomingdale Family Program are all EarlyLearn NYC sites that contract with the Administration for Children’s Services to provide child care. East Side House and Bloomingdale also provide Head Start to preschoolers and pre-kindergarten to four-year olds.
East Side House Settlement has four early childhood programs in the South Bronx. The program provides preschool for four-year-olds, including children with special needs, and in addition to education offers nutritional, social, and preventive health services.
Magical Years Early Childhood Center is one of the few infant/toddler subsidized child care centers in the city. Teachers and caregivers there partner with families and the community to foster social, emotional, and academic growth in children ages two months to three years.
Bloomingdale Family Program provides year-round (except August) half-day, full-day, and extended-day programs for three- and four-year-olds. Most children come from low-income families and more than a quarter have special needs. Bloomingdale’s curriculum is taught in both English and Spanish, and the program has been recognized as a strong model for integrating children with special needs.
We must continue advocating for resources and policies that will allow organizations such as these to flourish so that every NYC child has access to high quality early childhood programs that build the foundation that will launch them into future success.
CLC participants visiting Magical Years Early Childhood Center